TIRANA, Albania — Mohammed Jaloud of Iraq was elected president of the International Weightlifting Federation on Saturday.

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In an election more than a year late, more controversy and confusion arose when nine out of 11 presidential candidates withdrew just before voting began.

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A vote was taken, but Qatari candidate Yousef Al-Mana countered that Jaloud also signaled his departure when the two men sat together before the vote, which would have left Al-Mana unopposed.

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After the responsible officials ruled that Jaloud could still take part because they could not be sure if he had signaled his departure or not, Al-Mana then told the delegates that he was stepping aside “to satisfy all you”. This made Jaloud the new president with no votes counted.

Jaloud is a longtime IWF official who served as general secretary until Saturday and worked closely with Al-Mana at the Asian Weightlifting Federation. Jaloud thanked Al Manu for his refusal and called him a “good friend” in comments on the IWF website.

“Today we have taken the first step towards building a stronger organization, more resilient and more ambitious,” he said.

Among the candidates who withdrew was Maxim Agapitov of Russia after the Court of Arbitration for Sport overturned an earlier decision to disqualify him from running. He was joined by Ursula Papandrea of ​​the US, who briefly served as acting president in 2020 until she was fired by the board after pushing for anti-doping and governance reforms. The incumbent interim leader, Michael Irani of the UK, did not run.

Jaloud is the first permanent president since Tamas Ajan stepped down in 2020 after leading the IWF for 44 years. He has faced accusations that failed drug tests were covered up and millions of dollars went missing during his presidency. Last week, Ayan was banned for life by CAS.

These revelations, followed by bitter infighting within the IWF, jeopardized the Olympic status of weightlifting. The International Olympic Committee removed weightlifting from the original list of sports for the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics, although it may later reinstate it.